Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of Grotesques, Ladies, and One Fine Looking Dog

“Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine.”
-Henry James

Just returned from a short visit to Firenze (Florence). It was marvelous. I find the trouble with traveling is that you can sometimes be vulnerable to falling in love with a place based on superficial conceit. I know every place has it's grimy underbelly, it's loathsome qualities, and social predicaments, but gosh darn, Firenze is just so great! Even fellow wayfarers don't annoy me that much. I can't think about that city without my mind fogging up in a Renaissance induced haze and I catch myself salivating ever so slightly at the thought of grotesque frescoes and Italian sweets.

If you haven't been to the Uffizi, you really should go. It has good reason to be overrated. Firstly, the grotesque frescoes that embellish the ceilings within are amazing. I love following the playful symmetry of odd creatures and grimacing faces that intertwine with decorative tendrils of golden vines... I could lie on the floor staring at that stuff forever. The collection is nuts. I think my time in Spain had tainted my memory of how much I love Italian paintings. Artists such as Boticelli, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Raphael were the first few painters my Dad had introduced to me as a young kid after all. I could go on about paintings in the collection that get me excited, but specific highlights for me would be Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi and Medusa by Caravaggio... HOT DAMN!

There were drawings by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri that were on display too. He is also referred to as Il Guercino, which means The Squinter, because the guy was cross-eyed. There was a drawing of a monkey that I particularly liked, although I think it looks more like a lion.

I spotted a cat-fan on the ceiling and it made me pretty happy, so I drew it.

There was a portrait of a pathetic looking character, rendered in a rather unfantastical way, but I thought the dullness of the expression and style was somewhat endearing.

I wanted to pay homage to the many ladies who made all this beautiful art possible. Shout out to the muses and Gentileschi. I think Gentileschi has painted the fiercest of all Judith paintings I have seen thus far. There are quite a few out there, but this one I think is the most believable and unexpurgated. I like strong women and gore.

I bought a pen with a nib and some ink. I doodled a bit and hit the Uffizi Piazza the next day!

I drew some sculptures, Perseus Slaying Medusa, by Cellini and Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna. You probably realize I have an inclination for the dramatic.

The day before my birthday my friends and I spotted a dog who shared a startling semblance to my beloved dog Travis back home in Vancouver. I have no idea what combination of breeds Travis is because we got him from the animal shelter, so it's always neat to see other mutts that look like him. This Italian canine's resemblance is crazy uncanny. The markings and colouration were completely spot on, with the exception of the german shepherd-like spots on each side of the face that this dog was missing. Travis' eyes are bigger and his muzzle is pointier too, but this could be him when he gets older and starts to chillax a bit more. Aw, miss my furry pal.

My dawg:

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